The Companions by R.A. Salvatore

“How long lived our memory of you when you are gone? Because in the end, that is the only measure. In the end, when life’s last flickers fade, all that remains is memory. Richness, in the final measure, is not weighed in gold coins, but in the number of people you have touched, the tears of those who mourn your passing, and the fond remembrances of those who continue to celebrate your life.”

4/5 stars.
ebook, 384 pages.
Read from July 6, 2019 to July 11, 2019.

I have been looking forward to this book for a long time. While I have enjoyed the new journey that Drizzt took with some new and old characters, I really missed the Companions of the Hall. This is book 24 (I think? According to Goodreads anyway) of The Legend of Drizzt series that is now 30+ books in length. I actually never imagined I get this far when I picked up the series more than ten years ago.

Cattibrie, Bruenor, Regis, and Wulfgar have been reunited in death and have been given a choice, a gift from the goddess Melikki, to help their friend Drizzt in his time of need. They are to be reincarnated and will meet on a set date and location in which their assistance to their friend will be needed and revealed. The story follows their rebirth from children, who still retain their previous memories and adult mind, through their growth and struggle in being reborn. Wulfgar is uncertain he wants to be reincarnated, even for the sake of Drizzt, while Bruenor gets to see the follow-through of some his most important decisions as King in his past life and struggles to come to terms with the person that he is now. Regis is determined to be more valuable to his friends in this life by becoming stronger and more courageous. Cattibrie knows her path and is determined to learn as much magic as she can in order to be reunited with her beloved Drizzt. There are, however, no guarantees in this rebirth. The Companions have one chance and if they die in this life there is no coming back.

What an adventure this book was! It is unlike any of the other books in the Legend of Drizzt series. For one, it’s one of the few books in the series that requires knowledge and context from other books in the existing series.  Most of the books in the series can be picked up without having read many of the books in the series but I feel like this one is an exception and without the background knowledge of the characters and their previous lives this plot would be very confusing. Secondly, Drizzt is barely heard from in this book as the narrative switches between his companions only.

Kudos to Salvatore for finding a clever and innovative way to bring back his much-loved characters. I’m not sure if this was his plan all along, regardless, it worked out well and this book is very well-executed. Looking forward to the remainder of the series now that Drizzt has his companions at his side again.

 

The Road to the Patriarch by R.A Salvatore

“Those who rely on certainties are certain to be disappointed.”

2/5 stars.
ebook, 267 pages.
Read from May 15, 2019 to May 21, 2019.

This is the final instalment in the Sellsword’s Trilogy that follows the two “bad guys”, Jaraxle and Artemis. Jaraxle’s plan starts to become clear as the two of them make some very ambitious decisions and dare to challenge a king as well as two ancient dragons. Jarlaxle’s ambitions and outrageous schemes are always almost enough to get them killed, almost.

I wish I were into the premise of this story more but it just didn’t do it for me, as was most of this trilogy, unfortunately. The series lacked the character work that I loved so much with the Drizzt series. Both Jarlaxle and Artemis are at constant battle with themselves in terms of their partnership, or rather, friendship. Their experience tells them that they shouldn’t be friends yet this also seems to be a challenge for them despite the two of them being generally cold-hearted. Artemis becomes especially vulnerable in this book as well which is puzzling for the reader as his tough exterior seems to break. He starts to question the meaning and purpose of his life as well as his relationships with other people. What will this new cracked exterior mean for the assassin? Of course, all is revealed in the end… Spoilers ahead.

Jarlaxle’s motives don’t seem as clearly defined in this book, or at least they’re not as robust as Artemis’ and for that, Artemis has the more interesting narrative of the two. I do appreciate that at least Jarlaxle is still mostly true to his conniving and manipulative ways, even to those closest to him but then I found myself disappointed in Artemis for not being able to catch on to what Jarlaxle was doing. I appreciate that Artemis’ newfound vulnerability in this book was not necessarily of his own doing and I know that will eventually make him a very dynamic character but he just didn’t seem as badass in this book.

Salvatore could have had a whole offshoot of stories with Jarlaxle and Artemis but it felt as if he wasn’t as heavily involved or invested in the stories as much as he has been with Drizzt and his companions. Considering their shallow development within this trilogy, perhaps it’s best that they remain secondary characters for the time being. I know that they appear later within Drizzt’s storyline (Neverwinter Series) and it does help to know their stories from this trilogy going into those books, so I hope that they continue to present themselves within the Drizzt storyline.

 

Promise of the Witch King by R.A. Salvatore

This book has a lot of battles and fighting, which if you’re a big fan of reading Salvatore’s battle scenes, is a major plus.

2/5 stars.
Hardcover, 244 pages.
Read from May 9, 2019 to May 15, 2019.

This is the second book in The Sellswords’ Trilogy featuring the adventures of Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle as they search for artefacts from the notorious and terrible Witch-King Zhengyi, seemingly under the request of their alluring dragon patrons. New characters are introduced and new partnerships (friendships?) are made within a new and dark landscape. All the while the pair work to meet their own gains, usually from one of Jarlaxle’s elaborate schemes, that he doesn’t fully reveal to Artemis until the end.

I am heavily disappointed in this trilogy so far. The characters of Artemis and Jarlaxle seem much more developed and intriguing within the stories of Drizzt than in this trilogy of their own adventures. Jarlaxle and Artemis are the supposed bad guys and their characters are meant to be a refreshing change from the goodness of Drizzt. Somehow the adventures of these two should have lent itself to a more enticing story but instead, it’s falling flat. The formula for this book is that same as the first book in the trilogy, in which the two of them partake in some crazy scheme that Jarlaxle has come up with, that puts them, and others in great peril, for their own gains. Well, mostly Jarlaxle’s actually. Artemis starts to explore his own motives within this most book, making for the most interesting part of the story that’s isn’t touched on enough. Despite all that, it’s obvious that Artemis and Jarlaxle have a friendship or at least an amicable partnership, that they’re reluctant to part from and have some sense of messed up loyalty to each other that works with their morals and life choices.

This book has a lot of battles and fighting, which if you’re a big fan of reading Salvatore’s battle scenes, is a major plus. However, if you’ve fallen in love with Salvatore’s books for his character work, this book, or trilogy may not be for you. I will continue with the last book in this trilogy and hope that the final instalment turns the trilogy around for me.